Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

From the collection of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois

July 24, 1863 – Manassas Gap, Va

Manassas Gap Va
July 24th 10,30 AM

Dear Father

I know you will be anxious to hear from me by this time, for the past few days, I have been so busy & have had no chance to write. We arrived here yesterday, from Upperville. I think I have written you once since we left the Ferry, Come to think of it I wrote to you on Sunday Just as we had Orders to March. From there we marched, a few miles a Day until we came to Ashby Gap. We laid one Day & 3/4 [there] having a good rest.

Day before yesterday & yesterday we Guarded The Corps Train. This is awful work, first we March very slow & then we have to Double Quick it to catch up. It has been very warm for the past few days, awful for Marching, Talking about marching & Sweating I never knew what it was before. When we left Ashbys Gap, we had Orders, for Warrenton, but at Upperville they were changed to the Gap. Yesterday was a tough day for me, I had all I could do to keep up. If I had not thought, we were going into a Fight I never should have stood it. We Halted about 4 PM, & Pitched our Tents, expecting to stay all night, but at 5,30 PM, we were Ordered up the Gap.

We are now, laying on a the [sic] side of the Mountain, in the Gap, Last night, there was some Canonading, last night, out to our left, but this Morning all is quiet. Things look like having a Fight here, but I do not expect much of a one. I think old Lee will get out, of this.

Just as soon as we get to Warrenton or to some point on the RR, We start for Elmira. There is 3 Comissioned, one non-Comissioned Officer & 6 Privates out of our Regt [are] Detailed to go to Elmira for the Conscripts, to fill up our Regt. I happened to have the good luck, to be Detailed, for one. I do not know, whether I shall have the Good luck, to get Home, for a day or two, or not. I hope too however. If not, I shall Telegraph to you. I think I can, get Home, for a day or two, as our Drafted Men, will be from Wayne Co. It will be a nice rest for me.

This morning We Drew, the last Days Rations, from our Supply Train, something will have to be done Quickly. We will have to go, to Warrenton for our Supplies. If Lee does not make his stand here, I think we shall go to Warrenton today or tomorrow. It was reported here this morning, that we were going to [Front] Royal, I do not believe this However.

We have had no mail since we left the Ferry. I am in a hurry for some. The last letter I got from you was written, the 10th I shall hope to hear from you soon.

Give my love to all
The Boys are all well

Write soon
M T Stacey

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Manley Stacey

born October 29, 1842

died December 26, 1863

Written during the battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

"When we camped last, we could see the wounded coming in, those that were able to walk, and the cavalry horses coming in riderless. This showed us that something was going on...I think this will be an awful battle very soon and of course we are in for it...It is a sad sight to see the wounded brought in on stretchers, the poor boys all covered with blood & as pale as death.

"Last night at 4 PM we were ordered to march and form in Line of battle on our left. After a great deal of confusion, we got formed and then we were ordered to advance, right in the face of the rebel guns who were firing their grape and canisters into us by wholesale...After a great deal of marching and counter marching, we were ordered to charge on a rebel battery. We were now right in front of our canons, advancing on their guns, the rebel sharpshooters in our rear picking off our officers. This was an awful time the shells taking the men down by ranks. While we were marching, a man was shot, and the Blood was spilling all over my face, it perfectly Blinded me.

"At 1 PM we were shelled by 100 guns, all concentrated on the force supporting the battery. There we laid behind a stone wall, the shells passing over us and killing the men all around me. Three men were killed and thrown across me, covering me with blood. While we were laying here, a shell struck a stone in the wall and killed a man throwing the man across my legs and the stone striking me in the back & doubling me up.

"We have got about 18 men now in the Company fit for duty and 150 in the Regiment. We went in the fight with over 400, and have yet now 150."

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